Lowes on a high after win
8:54am Saturday 2nd August 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Bradford head coach James Lowes admitted it was great to see his players smiling again after they beat local rivals Leeds 20-14 to make it back-to-back wins over First Utility Super League title contenders.
The Bulls have endured a horror season and had their relegation to the Kingstone Press Championship confirmed at Huddersfield Giants two weeks ago.
Since then, however, they have turned in their best two performances to see off champions Wigan Warriors and then Leeds at a wet Headingley Carnegie on Friday night.
The victory over the Rhinos was Bradford's first in six attempts and earned them bragging rights in the final West Yorkshire derby between the sides before they drop into the second tier.
Danny Williams and Mitch Achurch exchanged tries during an error-strewn first half and although Luke Briscoe cancelled out Luke Gale's effort, Bradford were not to be denied.
Lee Gaskell stepped his way over in front of the travelling fans in the dying stages to spark wild celebrations.
"I'm made up for the boys," said Lowes. "It's good to walk into the dressing room again and see them smile.
"I thought it was an evenly-matched game. Both sides created very good chances and scrambled so well defensively. They chased lost causes down and that makes a big difference in the game.
"I couldn't have had a complaint if the game had gone either way, it was that evenly balanced."
Bradford still have Hull FC, Castleford and Widnes to come and Lowes is determined to continue making life difficult for teams with play-off aspirations.
"If that's the last thing we do in Super League, then it wouldn't be a bad way to exit," he added.
"We'll certainly try, if it means we affect things at the top of the league then so be it.
"But I'm more concerned about the lads getting more of them W's (wins).
"It's a great feeling when you win and when you play well, so I'm overjoyed."
For Leeds it was far from ideal preparation for next weekend's Tetley's Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington.
With that in mind, head coach Brian McDermott rested Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins and took no chances with the likes of Jamie Peacock and Joel Moon, who were carrying niggles.
His Rhinos side, already missing captain Kevin Sinfield through suspension, struggled for fluency all night and were their own worst enemies at times, according to a frustrated McDermott.
"We lost a ridiculous amount of ball," said the former Bradford player. "We got a bit bloody-minded in the second half and we just needed to calm down a bit.
"I've got no qualms with the nature of the loss, it's just how we played. The amount of possession we lost made it almost impossible for us to win the game."
The defeat meant Leeds missed the opportunity to leapfrog leaders St Helens, who lost 19-12 at Hull FC.